Read Alpha Asher by Jane Doe Chapter 145
It wasn’t the sunlight streaming through open c******s that woke me, but Beta Drake’s gruff baritone. His voice drowned out the steady thud of Asher’s heart which was right below where my head was resting.
‘Lola, are you with Asher right now?’
My spine protested angrily as I rolled off Asher’s chest, which I had been sprawled across seconds ago, and plopped down on the floor. The last thing I remembered was being wrapped in his arms, letting his warmth and strength flow into me as I told him how Breyona almost died.
I didn’t want to tell him what I’d done. There wasn’t a single part of me that regretted it, not once I saw the look of pure relief in Giovanni’s eyes and knew how close he had been to snapping, but I was still ashamed and horrified. There was no telling what or who they would take.
Instead of saying the words out loud, I let Asher relive every agonizing second through our bond. Every emotion I felt and word I had screamed echoed in our heads, ending seconds after Breyona’s last gurgled breath when the shadows swarmed us.
Asher’s arms tightened around me, and his stubble coated cheek grazed my face, but he said nothing. I preferred it this way, listening to the sound of him breathing instead of false reassurances. There was a price to be paid, and when the time came, I’d have no choice but to accept it.
I was halfway asleep when Asher said, “Breyona wasn’t wounded when I ran past her. If she was, I wouldn’t have left her there.”
“You said you chased the witch past the pack boundaries?”‘ I frowned, cracking an eye open to stare up at him. “I felt the witch last night, hiding in the forest. She was watching Breyona and I, but she left before the shadows…y’know.”
There two witches messing with us last night, I was sure of it.
Surprisingly, I slept like a rock after that. I could’ve taken it as a good sign, but instead I saw it as an omen. My mind couldn’t conjure up a nightmare that was more frightening than reality.
‘She is.’ Asher replied to Drake, smirking when I turned and caught him watching me. ‘Why, what’s up?’
‘There was another m****r. You both need to come down here now, like right now.’
‘Here’ turned out to be in the center of town, right out front of the University. Local and campus police did their jobs, securing the scene until Asher and I arrived. We had Cordelia and Rowena wait in the car when we saw the growing crowd pressing at the boundaries of the caution tape.
It wasn’t the nature of the m****r that had Drake sounding so on edge, but the identity of the victim and the location. They were both specifically chosen, that much was crystal clear.
In the large courtyard that led up to the main entrance of the University, right where the bake sale had been hosted only ten hours ago, was the mutilated body of Devin Armstrong.
It was clear he died the same way as Carson, with his throat slit and his torso littered with deep gashes. The only difference was the damage to Devin’s body was significantly worse than Carson’s. There were so many wounds along his chest and abdomen that his entrails were showing.
That was the tipping point for all of us, I think.
Breyona, who insisted she come even though she had nearly died last night, was puking her breakfast into the grass. Sean mumbled something about comforting her and went to hold her hair back. I noticed how he kept his head turned far away from Devin’s body, and his chest moved rapidly with each deep breath he took.
I forced myself to look away–away from his accusatory eyes that followed me even in d***h. There were people in the crowd with the same look on their faces, each one staring at me.
Out of the two times I had spoken to Devin Armstrong, both ended in very public arguments. He hadn’t been shy speaking out against me and the Vampire’s, or in claiming there were others who shared his opinion.
What made this m****r different wasn’t that the body had been moved, but that it had been moved into the center of town. There were busy intersections on either side of the University, with little traffic cameras perched on top. The patch of grass where Devin sat, propped up against the school sign, was directly within the camera’s view.
Asher and Zeke were already making plans to go downtown to review the footage in a few hours, but first we needed to track down the true location of Devin’s m****r.
‘Go ahead of us, take Rowena and Cordelia with you too. People shouldn’t follow if they see I’m still here.’ I told Asher, but it was impossible to hide the sourness in my voice through mind-link. ‘Besides, I want a closer look at Devin’s body. It doesn’t make sense that Breyona was attacked by the witches last night, only for Devin to turn up m******d.’
‘We know the truth, and so do the people closest to us. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says. When this is over and they’re safe with their families, everyone will know who was responsible.’ His eyes found mine, soft and comforting even though we were feet apart and surrounded by other people.
Asher left ten minutes later with Zeke in tow, while Breyona remained glued to my side.
“You saved my life, which means I’m never leaving your side again.” She said adamantly, but quickly added, “…except for when I leave to visit Gio’s family, but other than that, consider me your indentured servant.”
“I don’t need an indentured servant.” Even though my voice was stern, Breyona couldn’t help but grin.
She hesitated when I approached Devin’s corpse and let out a nervous chuckle. “I think knowing when to give you some… alone time is a quality every indentured servant should have, right?”
Without giving me enough time to answer, she turned on her heel and wobbled over to Sean, whose face was just as green as hers.
My stomach turned as I knelt beside Devin’s corpse. Even though the scent of blood was one I now associated with food, it was the amount of the sweet-smelling substance that made me completely repulsed.
Something white caught my eye. The color was so bright against the backsplash of blood and guts that I couldn’t help but notice it. I called the coroner over and asked for a pair of tweezers, then proceeded to hold my breath while I dug into Devin’s shredded chest cavity.
Dark spots speckled my vision, but I refused to take a breath. Only when the piece of folded paper slid past his ribcage did I finally s**k in a large gust of oxygen. There was a waxy coating on the paper, probably to keep the blood from soaking into it. The lightheaded feeling only lasted a few seconds but was replaced by the sensation of falling when I peeled back the corners to see what was written inside.
Made you look.
My eyes darted from the paper to where it had been lodged inside of Devin’s chest cavity, right where his heart was.
I gave the note to the police and watched as they slipped it into an evidence bag. Rage coated my tongue in a metallic tasting film and made the blood rush to my head. Several deep breaths later and there was zero relief. I was seconds away from darting into the forest to chase Asher and Zeke down, when I detected Brandon’s voice above the static in my head.
“What the h**l, Cass. You stood me up last night.” I could tell from his languid voice and pissy tone that he was currently sweating off a hangover.
I snickered inwardly when Cassidy laughed and said, “Oh, don’t boohoo. You were probably halfway up some schoolgirl’s skirt. Besides, you’re just jealous I had a date of my own.”
Shaggy hair, a keyed motorcycle, and a pair of scuffed boots popped in my head, obliterating the storm that I’d been brewing.
Giving the coroner the go ahead to move Devin’s body, I headed to the yellow caution tape that kept everyone off the grass. Rather than stand on the sidewalk they crowded the street, so a few of the police officers had to redirect traffic.
It was the warriors that formed a radius around the University a few blocks out and kept pedestrians from getting close. The only people allowed in were the ones that lived here, everyone else was turned away. From the chatter I heard between students in the crowd, classes had been cancelled for the rest of the week.
The thought of Lars taking Cassidy anywhere twisted my stomach into knots, which momentarily distracted me from the sleek sports car pulling up beside the curb. Everyone watching had no choice but to move from the street, and more than one found themselves jutted in the rear end by a bumper.
A head of salt and pepper hair, thick but professionally styled appeared from the driver’s side. His suit screamed luxury from the varnished gold cufflinks to the five -hundred-dollar Stefano tie. I knew absolutely nothing about men’s fashion, but I had seen a few in Asher’s closet, attached to suits he’s claimed to have never worn. At the time, I made him promise I’d get to see him with one on.
He had a mountainous build like many werewolves, so he towered over me as he sliced through the caution tape and snarled, “Where is my son?”